Roy Strassberg


Maus Haus. Roy Strassberg. 1994.


Untitled (Mask). James L. Tanner. Late 1990s.

Maker/Collector Statement

Maus Haus is one of the seminal pieces from an ongoing series entitled Holocaust Bone Structures. It references Art Spiegelman’s Maus, a graphic novel describing his father’s experience in the Holocaust. I wanted to find an appropriate metaphor for examining mass murder as a subject for artistic expression. I was determined to find a simple symbolic language with images that were easily identifiable, but placed in contexts that were eccentric and/or peculiar to ordinary experience. The bone image emerged as a way of suggesting that this work, when seen in context, could ultimately be construed as a symbol of death on a gigantic scale; in a word, genocide.

James Tanner was my mentor and teaching partner for 25 years. Professor Tanner’s Mask is an iconic work that typifies his interest in painting, sculpture, printmaking, and mixed media construction. This piece imagines things seen from an aerial perspective, an abstract reconfiguring of the known into the unknown--pure poetry.  

Roy Strassberg